Annie (1982)

Movie review by
Sarah Wenk, Common Sense Media
Annie (1982) Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Classic orphan tale has great songs, some iffy content.
  • PG
  • 1982
  • 127 minutes

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 50 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 53 reviews

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

The film is intended to entertain, rather than educate, but kids may learn a little about the Depression and New York City in the 1930s.

Positive Messages

Families can be based on more than blood relationships. Loyalty and friendship are strong themes, as are courage and gratitude. Promotes the "rags to riches through determination" idea of the American dream, which is idealized and not achievable for all.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Annie displays grit, determination, and optimism as she tries to make the best of her situation. Her friends are loyal to her, and Daddy Warbucks and Grace grow to love her and want to help her. On the downside, Miss Hannigan is irresponsible and conniving, and Rooster and Lily tell lies and try to cheat Daddy Warbucks. Representation-wise, the film is almost entirely White. Daddy Warbucks' bodyguards, Punjab and Asp, are men of color, but they're both portrayed in a stereotypical, racist way. They're servants, they don't really speak, and the name "Punjab" is based in the exoticism of Eastern cultures. That character also plays into the "magical Black person" cliche.

Violence & Scariness

Peril -- Annie hangs from a bridge after being kidnapped and chased. Someone throws a lit bomb into Daddy Warbucks' office. Miss Hannigan often shoves the children around and is generally cruel to them.

Sexy Stuff

Insinuations between characters include the phrases "make hay" and a "tumble with the bundle." Flirting.

Language

"Goddamn." Children are referred to as "pig droppings."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Miss Hannigan often appears drunk, slurring her speech and clutching bottles of alcohol. Adult characters smoke cigarettes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Annie is the beloved 1982 adaptation of the popular radio show, comic strip, and Broadway musical. Overall, it's a charming and entertaining family movie that's full of memorable songs. But Miss Hannigan (Carol Burnett), who runs the ramshackle orphanage where intrepid, determined Annie (Aileen Quinn) lives, is often drunk, slurring her speech and clutching bottles of liquor in a way that's intended to be funny. There's also flirting and occasional references to sex ("make hay," "tumble with the bundle"). Things never get too scary, but someone throws a lit bomb into Daddy Warbucks' office, and some tense scenes show Annie hanging from a bridge after being kidnapped and chased. The movie also includes racist stereotyping in the form of Daddy Warbucks' bodyguards, Punjab and Asp, and promotes the "rags to riches" idea of the American dream, which is idealized and not achievable by all.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 8-year-old Written byStay Alert October 22, 2010

Not as Represented in the Common Sense Media Review

I was disappointed with the Common Sense Media review - usually the "CSM" reviews are "spot-on" in terms of advising parents of the issues i... Continue reading
Parent of a 5-year-old Written byAuthor Alys B. Cohen February 11, 2015

I think a lot of people are missing the point

This is a movie set in the 1930's when prohibition was going strong. That's why Miss Hannigan was making bathtub gin instead of buying bottles. Her... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old October 5, 2010
It is a great movie. They say a bad word and there is drinking and it's scary. It can get a little boring for kids at some parts. My musical theater group... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old April 5, 2021

8+

Movie from the 90s stars lovable girl orphan, contains surprisingly lots of violence.

What's the story?

In this film version of the Broadway musical -- itself based on the classic comics -- about Depression-era orphan ANNIE (Aileen Quinn), the optimistic, determined red-head suffers indignities at the hands of neglectful orphanage director Miss Hannigan (Carol Burnett). Ever-hopeful Annie dreams of the day that her parents will arrive to retrieve her, often singing songs and dancing to the delight of the other orphans. Hoping to boost his approval rating with local voters, rich politician Oliver Warbucks (Albert Finney) takes Annie in for a week at his swanky Manhattan mansion. Annie wins over her new caretakers, but Miss Hannigan and her cronies Lily (Bernadette Peters) and Rooster (Tim Curry) see an opportunity to increase their cash flow.

Is it any good?

This beloved adaptation of the Broadway musical is sometimes uneven, but its charms take over by the end. The songs are a mixed bag -- "Dumb Dog" is just not all that good, but you'll have "It's the Hard-Knock Life" stuck in your head for days, and by the time Annie sings "Tomorrow" to President Roosevelt, you'll be singing it along with her.

Some of the performances are outstanding, particularly Burnett as Miss Hannigan. In the title role of Annie, Quinn is a fine singer, if a bit wooden as an actress. But the orphan girls are adorable, and Finney is wonderfully brusque but really an old softy as Daddy Warbucks. One definite issue is the racist portrayal of Warbucks' bodyguards, Punjab and Asp. Be sure to talk to kids about why this kind of representation is problematic.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about musicals like Annie. Why do you think musicals have been popular, on both Broadway and in film?

  • Talk about how characters of color are portrayed in Annie. What kinds of stereotypes do you recognize? How does that affect your enjoyment of the movie? Has society changed since this movie was made?

  • How do the characters in Annie demonstrate courage and gratitude? Why are those important character strengths?

  • What message do you think the filmmakers want viewers to take away from watching? Do you think Annie's "rags to riches" journey is one that people can actually achieve in real life? Why, or why not?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love musicals

Character Strengths

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Themes & Topics

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